Deborah Ross interviewed Mindy Portnoy on November 9, 2010 in Washington, D.C. as part of the Jewish Womenâs Archive "Weaving Women's Words" project.
Rabbi Mindy Portnoy was one of the first women to be ordained as a rabbi of the Reform Movement of Judaism. Throughout her career, she has served as both a Hillel rabbi and as a pulpit rabbi in Washington D.C., and is the author of several childrenâs books, the most well known of which is Ima on the Bimah. Rabbi Portnoy talks about her experiences as a rabbi from her unique vantage point, both as a participant in this historic change in Jewish life, and also as an observer of it. She speaks about what led her to the rabbinate, her experiences as a rabbi, how others perceived women entering this new role, and how she responded to some of the issues raised for the first time during this transitional period.
During 2010 and 2011, Deborah Ross decided to interview a number of Jewish women living and working in and around Washington, D.C. Having lived in the area for over three decades, she wondered how these women, many of them the firsts in their fields, all of them distinguished, understood their Jewish identity. "In other words," she wrote, not, "What makes us Jewish?" but "What does being Jewish make us?" Over a year's time, working as a volunteer, she interviewed nine women on video.
The complete video recordings and transcripts of the interviews are available on the Internet Archive. To see the online exhibit based on this project, visit Jewish Women's Archive/DC stories